LAKE CHARLES, LA (Press Release)- Stephen F. Austin has been picked fifth by both the Southland Conference head coaches and sports information directors as the league has announced the preseason football polls for 2016. The polls were released in conjunction with the 2016 Southland Conference Football Media Day at L'Auberge Resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
The Lumberjacks earned 60 points in the coaches poll, finishing seven points back of fourth-place Lamar and three points better than sixth-place Southeastern Louisiana. Sam Houston State was tabbed as the favorite with 99 points, including nine first place votes, followed by reigning champion McNeese (92 pts.), Central Arkansas (79 pts.), Lamar and SFA.
SFA was also tabbed fifth by the conference's sports information directors, accumulating 66 points and finishing a point behind fourth-place Lamar. Sam Houston State was again picked as the preseason favorite, picking up 10 first place votes and 100 total points, followed by McNeese (86 pts.), Central Arkansas (84 pts.), Lamar and the Lumberjacks.
The preseason pick was expected by head coach Clint Conque as SFA is coming off a disappointing 4-7 season in 2015, including a 4-5 mark in Southland Conference play. After being plagued by injuries last season, the Lumberjacks have been healthy throughout spring and summer workouts and are optimistic a group of experienced seniors and talented underclassmen will help SFA make a run at an SLC title.
SFA's 2016 campaign, the 90th year of football in Nacogdoches, gets underway on Saturday, September 3rd when the Lumberjacks travel to Lubbock to face Big XII foe Texas Tech. The 'Jacks' 2016 home schedule begins the following week when SFA takes on West Alabama on September 10th as Abilene Christian, Southeastern Louisiana, Central Arkansas and Northwestern State also make the trip to Homer Bryce Stadium.
Season tickets are now on sale by contacting the SFA Athletic ticket office at (936) 468-JACK (5225). Tickets for the 2016 Battle of the Piney Woods at NRG Stadium on October 1st as well as the game against Texas Tech are also available.
2016 Southland Conference Preseason Football Polls
1. Sam Houston State (9) – 99 pts.
2. McNeese (2) – 92 pts.
3. Central Arkansas – 79 pts.
4. Lamar – 67 pts.
5. Stephen F. Austin – 60 pts.
6. Southeastern Louisiana – 57 pts.
7. Northwestern State – 45 pts.
8. Abilene Christian – 40 pts.
9. Incarnate Word – 29 pts.
10. Nicholls – 26 pts.
11. Houston Baptist – 11 pts.